Lian Hearn returns to her best-selling faux-Japanese fantasy world in a new four book series being published in Australia in two volumes. Set three hundred years before her Tales of the Otori, The Tale of Shikanoko is pure sword and sorcery fantasy with a Japanese twist. As with her Otori series, the setting is not Japan, or even a Japanese version of ancient Japan, but it is a Japan-like world heavily based on the myths, legends and...
Pile by the Bed goes to Venus to review The House of Styx, the first book of Venus Ascendant, a new science fiction series by Derek Kunsken
Pile by the Bed reviews Civilisations by Laurent Binet - an alternative history that imagines an Incan takeover of Europe in the Sixteenth Century.
Pile by the Bed reviews A History of What Comes Next, the first in a new series by Sylvain Neuvel which imagines an alien influence behind the space race.
Pile by the Bed reviews Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford an imagined history of five lives cut short by a German bombing in World War 2.
Pile by the Bed reviews and recommends The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex - an assured and absorbing debut based on the true story of the locked door disappearance of a group of lighthouse keepers.
Pile by the Bed reviews Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, a story about what it means to be human that is thematically consistent with his broader body of work.
Pile by the Bed reviews City of Vengeance a debut crime novel by screenwriter DV Bishop set in and around historical events in 16th Century Florence
Pile by the Bed reviews The Fall of Koli - the final ominously named book in MR Carey's post-apocalyptic Ramparts Trilogy and finds that the long journey was worth the effort
Pile by the Bed reviews Fog by Polish author Kaja Malanowska (translated by Bill Johnson) - crime fiction effectively used to explore a range of social issues in modern Poland.
Pile By The Bed reviews and recommends Smoke, the fifth book in Joe Ide's IQ series
Pile by the Bed reviews One, Night New York, a crime fiction debut that explores 1930s New York by Lara Thompson.
Pile by the Bed reviews Robot Artists and Black Swans a series of Italian Fantascienza short stories by Bruce Sterling written under his European pseudonym Bruno Argento.
Pile by the Bed reviews Nick - Michael Farris-Smith's prequel to The Great Gatsby, exploring the early life of that book's narrator Nick Carraway
Pile by the Bed reviews The Shape of Darkness - another pitch perfect Victorian-era gothic horror novel by Laura Prucell.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Future is Yours by Dan Frey - a time travel driven page-turning takedown of the tech industry
Pile by the Bed reviews The Silent Listener, the debut novel by Lyn Yeowart dealing with the dark side of living in rural Australia in the second half of the twentieth century.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Family Doctor by Debra Oswald - using crime fiction to explore some of the moral and ethical issues around domestic and family violence.
Pile by the Bed reviews and recommends Lightseekers the debut crime fiction novel by Nigerian author Femi Kayode
Pile by the Bed reviews The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean, a grim survival thriller that is based on issues of people trafficking and slavery.
Many crime novels straddle the line between crime and horror. Serial killers, on the whole, are the stuff of nightmares and crime writers have been falling over themselves for some time to up the gore factor. While horror novels usually rely on some form of supernatural agency and do not necessarily have the neat resolution of the crime genre, the bloody results are often the same. And so it is with The Poison Artist – a crime novel ...
It is easy to compare any novel narrated by a disaffected American teenager with the seminal Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield has become the archetypical American teen – intelligent, insightful and with plenty of promise but constantly fighting against a system which seeks to pigeon hole and repress. Lucia, the eighteen year-old narrator of How to Set a Fire and Why, fits into this mould but this is a very different tale and a ve...
Doorways into magical lands are a venerable fantasy tradition going back centuries in English fiction. Think Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan. In the Twentieth Century we had the seminal Narnia series and plenty of imitators followed. More recently we’ve even seen a modern deconstruction of that mythology in books like Lev Grossman’s Magician’s series. In this context, Simon Morden’s Down Station seems a little staid. The central ide...
The sinking of the Titanic, now over one hundred years ago, is still one of the most famous disasters in history. So it is no wonder that it has been the subject of countless books and films. Given this, the question has to be whether there is the appetite for yet another novel exploring this incident. The answer, strongly given by David Dyer in his debut The Midnight Watch, is an unqualified yes. The Midnight Watch is not primarily ...
Eden Archer, Australia’s answer to Dexter Morgan, and her damaged partner Frank Bennett are back at work in Fall, investigating a series of murders of women joggers. Underlying this investigation is another one by Frank’s lover (and former psychologist) Imogen, who solves cold cases in her spare time and is closing in on Eden’s true identity. There is plenty else going on in Fall, with Eden’s ex-crimelord father Hades having a...
Patrick deWitt has gone into fractured fairytale territory in his latest novel. Undermajordomo Minor, set somewhere in Europe, sometime in the nineteenth century comes complete with castles, dukes, battles, pickpockets, chambermaids and the titular majordomo. Lucien “Lucy” Minor needs to leave home. He lands himself a job as assistant to Olderclough, the majordomo of the Castle von Aux. On arrival, Lucy finds that Olderclough’s prev...